palm muting buzz?

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RJVB
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Location: La Ferté Milon, France

palm muting buzz?

Post by RJVB » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:52 am

Hi,

I don't know if this is the right place to ask but here goes:

Yesterday I noticed a strange new buzz while playing the G string, esp. the open string. As usual it seemed to come from the bridge area, but this time that really seems to be correct. So far I have traced it to the edge of my palm resting lightly on the lower 3 strings just in front of the saddle, i.e. palm muting. It's as if one of those strings buzzes against my skin through a form of sympathetic resonance.

Thing is that I never had this before (I do a lot of palm muting), and the edge of my palm hasn't developed any noticeable callousing against which you could indeed expect string buzz.

I haven't yet been able to determine which string is responsible but I wonder if this could be due to string winding that has become too loose around the core strands but not yet enough so to be audible when the string vibrates freely.

Any ideas? Weather related, maybe - I've also been having the impression that I need to place my fingers more precisely in order to get a clean tone more or less since the warmer weather started?
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

robert e
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Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: palm muting buzz?

Post by robert e » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:06 pm

I'm not sure whether you'd have better luck with this in Luthier section. I suppose it depends on the ultimate source of the buzz.

Your problem sounds familiar somehow, but I don't recall the specifics of my case or how I solved it. I know that the string height on my CG gets lower when the humidity goes up, and I have to adjust the saddle to make the buzzing go away. But the source of that buzzing isn't at the bridge. Is it possible that with the humidity-induced lower action, the light pressure on the string from your palm is enough to cause a fret buzz?

The winding theory seems plausible, and it's easy enough to test.

Another thought: did you check for string ends at the tie block that might be buzzing against the top? That's happened to me. (I used to be sloppier with the string ends.) That of course can happen at the headstock too, but you sound sure it's happening around the bridge. And, just out of curiosity, does this happen at certain pitches but not others?

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RJVB
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Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:29 am
Location: La Ferté Milon, France

Re: palm muting buzz?

Post by RJVB » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:15 pm

We've been having a hot and dry spell, and the last few days have been cooler though not really more humid.

My guitar doesn't have a tie block, but a tailpiece that's been the source of buzzing before so that was the first thing I checked. Frett buzz isn't the source here either (that often seems to come from around the bridge too!) because the buzz goes away when I keep my palm away from the guitar and if anything the action has become higher because of the climate conditions (that would explain the need to finger more precisely, I think).

I think I found the culprit. I play with this Brazilian forearm pad with the embedded hard shell, and when my hand is in a position to palm mute this is in subtle contact with the cover plate (see my display pic). Turns out one or 2 of the coverplate screws was/were very slightly lose.
As a former Guzzista I should have known to check my bolts and nuts for the effects of good vibrations! :D
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

robert e
Posts: 695
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: palm muting buzz?

Post by robert e » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:38 pm

Glad you were able to solve the problem!

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RJVB
Posts: 603
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:29 am
Location: La Ferté Milon, France

Re: palm muting buzz?

Post by RJVB » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:12 am

Me too. We'll see how long it takes to come back, or another buzz to pop up. Some would probably say that the very charm of a resonator guitar lies in the fact that it's a giant buzzer ;)
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

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